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Middle School robotics instructor Regan Priest awarded $5,000 grant

Halifax County Middle School robotics teacher Regan Priest may soon be looking for more room to put his “toys” after being awarded a $4,900 grant from the CenturyLink Foundation for innovative technology projects.

Priest and his class were surprised early Friday afternoon with a visit from CenturyLink representatives, Halifax County Middle School principal Faye Bruce, Halifax County Public Schools Superintendent Merle Herndon and members of the Halifax County School Board.

Holding a giant replica of the grant check, Regan expressed his surprise at receiving the grant.

“I can’t put it into words,” Priest said.

Priest researched the grant application for about a week with Halifax Education Foundation Executive Director Audrey Davidson before submitting it.

More than 100 teachers applied for the grants, with eight winners selected by a review committee comprised of community leaders and a CenturyLink representative.

The winning teachers’ schools, in this case Halifax County Middle School, each receive a grant to be used by the teachers to purchase technology to benefit students in the classroom.

Priest’s project, entitled “Rocking with Robotics,” will allow students the freedom to design, engineer and de-bug their own robotic projects and control how it works using computers and cell phones.

The CenturyLink Clark M. Williams Foundation’s Teachers and Technology grant program has been offered since 2008, awarding grants to schools in CenturyLink’s local service areas on behalf of teachers who have developed specific plans to innovatively implement technology in their classroom.

“This year is the first year in Virginia we were able to do this program,” said Simone Alley, market development manager for CenturyLink, adding the program awarded a total of $30,000 in grants to teachers in the Century Link territory.

“Each teacher could apply to a grant up to $5,000, and we ended up awarding eight different teachers grants, she noted.

“He aced it,” said Alley in referring to Priest’s project.

“We congratulate Regan Priest on his part in providing innovative technology in the classroom that enhances the learning experience for students in his school,” said Marcus Hill, CenturyLink general manager for Virginia.

“It is exciting to see a teacher so passionate about preparing his students for the future and finding creative ways to use technology in the classroom.”

One look at Priest’s classroom chock full of lego models and robotics would convince anyone of his dedication and passion.   

“I’m going to start ordering stuff tonight,” he exclaimed.